Hello Everyone and welcome to what has probably been eating most of my time over the last oh ten or so days.
Fire Emblem Echoes is a remake of the second Fire Emblem game, Gaiden, with a few slight changes of which I will go over soon.
Overall I would say FE:E is a pretty good addition into the FE family but then I only have the knowledge of playing Awakening and Fates, of which, most die hard old school FE fans seem to consider both the vile spawn of Satan and should not be counted as FE games.
So as I said my knowledge of Fire Emblem is Awakening and Fates before I played this game and as such anything I talk about in terms of liking and disliking stem from those two games as my core base. That said I did also look up Gaiden and read up on what changed Echoes did to it so I will touch up on those as well.
So starting off let us go over what Echoes changed over Gaiden, listed on the Fire Emblem Wiki, and whether or not I think they are good changes.
- Casual Mode has been added as a feature for Echoes.
- This was obviously a plus for me because I tend to get overly attached to my characters and the thought of losing one forever due to bad RNG.
- A new prologue is included which shows the past of Alm and Celica.
- Given I never played Gaiden I probably would have never noticed this being an addition to the game.
- 5 brand new characters have been added that were not present in the original Gaiden story: Faye, Berkut, Fernand, Conrad, Rinea.
- I feel more characters are always a good thing but I will go over soon why this actually made the game weaker in some aspects.
- A new, limited-use item called Mila’s Turnwheel allows the player to rewind the events of a battle, allowing the player to correct mistakes.
- A slightly overpowered tool that lets you turn back time in combat. Useful for trying to not lose a character or trying a different strategy but largely unnecessary for the game. I used it maybe once or twice.
- Dungeons are now explorable in a 3D environment.
- This was actually really interesting and I would like to see it expand in future Fire Emblem games.
- Towns and villages are now explorable in the manner of a visual novel.
- Another fun aspect that essentially took the base conversations from Fates and spread it out across various villages instead really.
- The fatigue system from Thracia 776 is reintroduced, but penalties are stat reductions instead of temporary incapacity.
- Something I did not necessarily care about but a necessary evil I believe to have the explorable dungeons work properly.
- Support conversations have been added to Echoes and take place on the battlefield like in the GBA Fire Emblemtitles.
- Support conversations are good and all but I will go over shortly why this in the end made the game worse than it should have been.
- The Forge mechanic has been added along with Silver and Gold Marks in order to forge weapons.
- In normal gameplay, without DLC, perfectly a great mechanic and helps boost certain characters with certain items.
- Weapons have innate skills that can be learned. However, all skills can only be used on the weapon it is learned from. Skills take the form of persistent passive abilities or direct ability commands.
- Really the only issue I had with this was say you got all the skills on the Iron Sword they did not carry over to the Steel Sword when/if you upgraded when I feel like they should have.
- A bonus sixth chapter has been added, taking place after the endgame of Gaiden.
- I have yet to actually see this because RNG kept killing me on the last fight and then a very idiotic and tired (and probably frustrated me) ended up deleting my game for whatever reason. I have sense started over.
- Special DLC maps, items, and features are added to the game, consisting of:
- 5 Goddess’s Gift items
- Two sets of Maps that give endless Items, Silver Marks, and Experience
- Access to overclasses.
- 4 Prelude stories about Deliverance
- Two maps in collaboration with Fire Emblem 0 (Cipher) along with the ability to recruit Emma, Shade, Yuzu, and Lando
- DLC is a double edged sword really. On one hand I like it cause it gives me more things to do and if I feel like taking the time to over power my units with the experience maps and overclasses I can. The other hand though is it cost more than the base game and ultimately is not needed to beat the game or get the full enjoyment out of it.
So the next part I will go over what I liked about the game and what I disliked about it.
Combat – I really enjoyed the combat in Echoes due to the removal of the weapon triangle, weapons were not limited use, and that spells cost health instead. Everything, to me, felt more based around your stats and strategy rather than having to worry about who was going up against who because Swords couldn’t damage Axes or Lances or whatever.
Now this doesn’t mean it was perfect of course. Snipers/Bow Knights with a Longbow or Killer Bow could either hit anything from anywhere on the map or always guarantee a critical hit… and still from pretty much anywhere on the map. Mages don’t really get anything that give them a decent bonus outside of shields but that can reduce their speed which would reduce chances of double attacks except for of course the rings which can heal them.
Support Conversations – I make no attempt to hide the fact my favorite part of Awakening and especially Fates was the support conversations. My whole replay factor of that game was teaming up different characters so I could hear their various supports with each other, cared less about the kid mechanic but hooking them up fueled my shippers heart.
But Echoes… while it was nice they were voiced the writing in them were nothing short of terrible for the most part. The script for almost every conversation between characters felt forced, generally trite, and just overall bad. As I saw someone point out on a message board, the price we had to pay for getting them fully voiced means a lack of quality writing.
The Story – I won’t go and spoil the story here or anything just more my thoughts on it. Overall I found it OK but I feel that ‘OK’ is simply held up by the mechanics of the game rather than the actual story itself. It wasn’t an awful story, though Celica’s path is kind of self centered in my opinion, but it definitely wasn’t amazing either.
Now as I understand it the game is faithful storywise to Gaiden which means if Echoes was like this so was Gaiden. So unless I am misinformed that doesn’t mean Gaiden gets a pass for nostalgia checks if a faithful remake to the story and it is still meh in the end.
RNG Can Make or Break You – While this was still true in the other games Awakening and Fates, apparently, had stat bloating. Where every level you could gain two to five stat points in two to five different stats. In Echoes you only gain one stat point in one to four stats. What would have been a weak, to maybe average, character in Awakening or Fates would be considered strong in Echoes.
The Rest of the Gameplay – Much like Awakening and, to a lesser extent, Fates, the maps on Echoes leaves much to be desired as only maybe three to at most five of the few dozen maps were at all interesting and at that only slightly.
Cutscenes were actually pretty and well done I thought and made a well needed reprieve from the grind that battles could start tolling on the players. Speaking of which the never ending battle after battle on the world map was quite annoying. Though at the same time helped in the use of gaining experience.
And… really that is about it I think for this review. A not perfect review for a not perfect game. Sounds about right to me.
If you’ve played Echoes tell me what you thought about it in the comments (or you can tell me I am a bad gamer, both work).
If you haven’t but have questions try asking me in the comments I can see if I can answer.